Why Everyone Leaves Dallas In August, and Where They Go: The Dallas Second Home Report

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Do you find it impossible to get anything done in Dallas in August? Let’s face it: everyone in town has taken a hike. And do you blame them? I’d much rather be at the seashore in Maine, on the Gulf Coast at Alys Beach, even down at Cinnamon Shore (which opens a new coffee house next week) in Port Aransas, in Colorado, in Pebble, in Montana, God even in Santa Fe.

I’d much rather be there than stay here just to earn a tee shirt that says “I survived the Heat Wave of 2011.”

But the very best place to be in August is really Pebble Beach, and I’m heading there this week. Ellen Terry is already there, Joe Kobell’s home is there while he sells Dallas real estate to pay for it.

Which is rare, because there’s usually not much real estate action in Dallas in August. Historically, since 1950, August and September have ranked among the worst market months both in terms of volume and average. Residential real estate sales also fall off sharply in August because school starts earlier than ever, and parents with kids make up a large percentage of buyers. In fact, everything is “off” in August. Commercial real estate sales are down because lenders and lawyers alike have flown the hot coop — what better excuse to postpone a loan than 110 degrees? Lawyers hate to set trials in August, witnesses are hard to find, and who really wants to try a case before a judge who is steaming about his A/C being on the fritz? Who would really want a jury of even their friendliest peers in August? Who’d want surgery in August? If I’m going to have to wear a girdle on my hips or boobs, I will darn well wait ’till October when it cools off.

Dallasites have been escaping the heat of August since before air conditioning, just as New Yorkers and New England escaped to the Cape, the Hamptons and Maine. Remember The Seven Year Itch? (One of the strongest drivers of the second home market is sending mom and the kids away so daddy can “play”.) Do you know that Little Forest Hills and many of the bungalows that surround White Rock Lake were second homes for Dallas residents? Following World War II, and the advent of air travel, affluent Dallas families began travelling to either coast to escape the heat and return invigorated and far cooler just as the triple digits began to drop. There was the late Clint Murchison Sr. and Sid Richardson who bought the Del Mar race track in California near La Jolla. At the time, Murchison was married to Ginny Long (Ginny Linthicum) and he named his private jet (a DC-3) The Flying Ginny. In fact, until about a year ago there was a La Jolla Bank over on Northwest Highway. La Jolla knew the money in Dallas was so good it came to us! Regen ( Horchow) and Jeff Fearon ultimately bought Virginia Linthicum’s house

So who goes where, then and now?

La Jolla: The horsy Dallas set can still be found near the Del Mar track. The Strausses (Ted, Bob, Helen and occasionally Rick and Diana), the late Lupe Murchison, late Ginny Linthicum and her sister Jodie Biddell, Bob and Margaret Folsom, banker Gerald Ford, investor Clay Querbes and his wife Molly, Alfred and Nancy Ann Chandler (formerly married to the late Dr. Buck J. Wynne Jr.).

Napa Valley: Investor Craig Hall and Kathryn. Former Dallasites Keith and Cheryl Hughes started with a second home here, now a thriving vineyard, and then moved in permanently.

Carmel: Ellen Terry, Susan Key, The Hoaks, the Gene Phillips who have a magnificent home or two on Seventeen Mile Drive. Designer extraordinaire Trisha Wilson has an amazing home in Pebble Beach.

Santa Barbara: Harold and Annette Simmons. The Pearcys. Also Oprah. Also Bill Gates who has a home near Rancho Santa Fe.

Santa Fe: Everyone. Ralph Randall, investor and arts patron Vince Carrozza, Rosewood Corp. executive Steve Sands, Mark Shepherd (retired chairman of Texas Instruments), Plato Karayanis (once general director of the Dallas Opera), Bruce Calder, businesswoman Mary Lide Kehoe, DMN society columnist Alan Peppard and his wife Jennifer, furniture executive Jay Smith and wife Elizabeth (an oil heiress).

Texas Hill Country: Steve Bartlett, me, and just wait ’till I get down to Horseshoe Bay!

Aspen: Everyone. Real estate developer Daryl Snadon, Jim and Betty Vandeveer, Jacque Wynne, Richard Rogers (son of Mary Kay Ash), Dr. Leonard Riggs and his wife Peggy, Frank Crossen, Darlene and Baron Cass, Steve and Terry Casey, Bob Utley (chairman and CEO of First Southwest Holdings) and his wife Ann. This is also, of course, where the Wylys ranched and where we tragically lost Charles Wyly last week.

Bootjack Ranch

Crested Butte: Lewis and Janet Shaw to their new fly-fishing nirvana, Wilder on the Taylor. I also hear developer Herb Weitzman has an 8,000 square foot home there that I yearn to be invited to. Oh, last time I was at the Crested FBO I saw Kelcy Warren’s jet — Bootjack Ranch.

Colorado Springs: A stream of regular Dallasites like Alinda and Jim Wikert join Margaret Hunt Hill and the Hunt family at the Garden of the Gods or just book several weeks at the Broadmoor. Several new developments going on in this area, too, some by Al Hill III.

Chautauqua, New York: Karen and Kevin Crowder

Montana: Flathead Lake, near Kalispell: Dallas Addison and partners are developing an amazing property on the shores of Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater lake in the western U.S. overlooking the peaks of Glacier National Park, limited to 12 Founder participants at $750,000 with future sites to be priced between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000 for the land alone.

Idaho: Coeur D’Alene: The Club at Blackrock has been taken over by the owners, but local folks are still heading up here like Rick Gray and Susie Swanson of Dave Perry-Miller.

Maine: Kennebunkport. Blowing Rock. The Bush clan. We go to Drake’s Island.

North Carolina: I hear a lot of Dallas folks are building beach homes here. Like to know who?

The Hamptons:Dr. Joanne Stroud, John Marion and Anne Windfohr Marion, an oil and ranching heiress. (The Marions stay at their big house in the Hamptons in July and their big house in Santa Fe in August).

Nantucket:Jeff and Nancy Marcus, investor Doug Wheat and wife Laura. The Horchow clan, including Roger, wife Carolyn, daughter Regen and her sister and brother-in law Lizzie and Dan Routman, Rand and Karen (formerly Rainwater) Watkins, Plack and Cissy Carr, George and Christine Spencer and a gaggle of the Fort Worth Schutts (Pat and Jack} family that includes (off-Schutts) Jim and Martha Williams and former Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Dunleavy (via a marriage to Emily Schutts). They’re joined by Tom and Linda Taylor (Tom handles the billionaire Bass family’s money. He used to move his entire outfit to Nantucket- as in a lucky handful of Taylor traders and analysts working every day in front of their terminals just like in Fort Worth, only in Nantacky.

Dave Perry-Miller has had a home in Nantucket for years. He also has homes in Palm Springs, Bissbee and Tuscon, Arizona, and a farm in Pennsylvania.

Dave said he got to share his Tuscon back yard with a tribe of skunks who took up residence earlier… they are now happily trapped and released.  Neighbors include Linda Rhonstadt and a house two doors down where Elizabeth Taylor lived in the 50s after Mike Todd’s tragic plane crash. Cocktails in the ‘hood back then must have been a blast!

In fact, Dave usually spends part of the summer in Nantucket but had to cancel two trips this summer to stay in hot Dallas… His payoff: more than $30 million sold and an $8 million contract pending I am so dying to tell you about…  guess you have to pay the bills sometime!

DPM's Tucson villa

Reader Interactions


  1. Alex Roostaei says

    One of my clients and his wife are originally from Denmark, they bought a second home there a few years back (and from I hear, a very nice home that did not cost them an arm and a leg) and go there for 6 or so weeks every year around this time. Smart if you ask me….

  2. Alex Roostaei says

    One of my clients and his wife are originally from Denmark, they bought a second home there a few years back (and from I hear, a very nice home that did not cost them an arm and a leg) and go there for 6 or so weeks every year around this time. Smart if you ask me….